The St. Thomas women’s basketball team extended its MIAC win streak to 36 Wednesday at Schoenecker Arena after defeating Bethel 72-65.
The Tommies (2-0 MIAC, 5-1 overall) built on their fast-paced, high-percentage shooting performances from earlier this season as they put up 31 points on the Royals (0-2 MIAC, 3-4 overall) in the first half. Guard Maddie Wolkow, who played a season-high 38 minutes, played a key role in keeping the momentum on the Tommies’ side.
“We were rolling throughout the entire game,” Wolkow said, “so just keeping that composure.”
The team’s composure was tested in the final quarter, as the Royals tied the Tommies for the first time in the game. Coach Ruth Sinn said the Royals’ comeback was due in part to the high number of stops in play.
“We wanted to make sure that it was a game that had flow to it, (that) it wasn’t a game of whistles and stops,” Sinn said. “When it got to be whistles and stops, we didn’t do so well. I thought they did a really nice job of adjusting.”
St. Thomas was able to build to a 52-34 lead in the third and appeared to have iced the game going into the fourth. Guard Lucia Renikoff led the offensive charge, draining five of 17 attempts from the floor for 17 points.
However, the Royals clawed their way back with a 20-2 run that tied the score at 54 with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“We had a little lapse in plays in the third quarter when they came back, but with our experience we know how those games go,” Brazil said. “Keeping poise and executing was the key in that.”
The Tommies were able to maintain composure despite the defensive lapses and ended the game with a 16-9 run to put them ahead for good. Renikoff scored seven of her 17 in the final three minutes, and the team made nine of 10 free throw attempts to seal the win.
“We want to continue to grow and develop,” Sinn said. “One thing this team has done really well is understanding what the next step is.”
The next step for the Tommies comes Saturday, when they take on St. Catherine (0-2 MIAC, 3-4 overall) at home. Wolkow said the team still has a long way to go after the win over Bethel.
“I mean, it’s December,” she said. “You don’t want to be playing your best basketball right now. You want to be playing it in February and March.”
MacKenzie Bailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org